Brickyard Gasoline Bath

This attachment contains an article which orginally appeared in the May 29, 1910 Indianapolis Star. The article reports on preparations for the final day of racing (May 30) for the May 1910 race meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. These races were part of the May 1910 weekend that included "national championships," a newly-announced distinction by the American Automobile Association (AAA) for select race meets. Car manufacturers were keen to make a great showing. Check out other articles that provide additional summaries on the results of the races staged May 27 and May 28 elsewhere on First Super Speedway.
Also, check out these other relevant articles:

Keep in mind that May 29 was a Sunday and no racing was conducted on the Sabbath during this era. Monday, May 30 was Decoration or Memorial Day, a national holiday. 
The attached article is one of those rare gems that provide wonderful insight to the practices of racing in the sport's early days. The headline says exactly what it means, "Gasoline Bath for Speedway Planned." Yes, after two days of racing the bricks had been splattered with oil and it was time for a clean-up. Relying on the old mechanic's best method of cleaning off oil - washing your hands or parts with gasoline - Speedway management ordered the unthinkable today, hosing down the track with gas. It was a two-part process as the plan called for chasing the flamable liquid with water. Where all the runoff went is anyone's guess except that we can be almost indisputably sure no environmental impact study was conducted.
This was not the first time gasoline was considered as a preparation agent at the Speedway. The previous December, during the initial time trials to test the new brick running surface, Contest Director Ernie Moross announced he would pour gas on the track an set ablaze if necessary to melt any ice and dry the track to insure the high speed runs could take place. See the note in bold in the paragraph that is third from the end of my analysis found elsewhere on First Super Speedway.
Interesting, too, is that the article reports that prior to the running of the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy dirt was scattered on the Brickyard's turns to soak up some of the oil and provide better traction. Despite noting that the bricks were rough and unforgiving to tires both winner Ray Harroun (Marmon) and runner-up Leigh Lynch (Jackson) completed the 200-mile grind without swapping out rubber.
The attached article asserts that drivers were "with one accord" in agreeing that the track was outstanding. Imagine the conditions of the times for racing. Much of it took place on minimally prepared public roads or horse tracks with little or no accommodations for automobiles. For these drivers the Brickyard was a bloody marvel. It presented a durable, fast surface with stretches of amazing length unrivaled by an closed circuit apart from a trip to Brooklands in England. Undeniably it was the gold standard venue of America. Carl Fisher had truly made a big statement.
The newspapermen inevitably turned to the quotable Barney Oldfield for comment. The speed king reported that the track to be the fastest in America and he expected management to improve it and make it faster still. Reflecting on his incident during the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy race when he lost a tire, fought for control and then rode the better part of two miles on a hickory wheel he reported that he did not believe there were many tracks in the world that would enable a driver to do that.
The budding star Caleb Bragg, the millionaire of Cincinnati origin, said, "The track is ideal. I believe it is greater than any course anywhere. As soon as a man knows the turns there is no reason why he should not ride in perfect safety unless his car goes wrong."
Buick's star drivers Louis Chevrolet and Bob Burman reportedly liked the course and believed it would host some of America's best contests for years to come. Called "the white car stars," the duo had reportedly put in a lot of practice laps on the oval and apparently believed the gas and water bath on their day off was a smart move.
The article closes with a quick summary of expectations for the final day of the meet. The races of the day focused on the AAA national championships which promised medals and bragging rights. Fourteen events were planned with the feature of the day the Remy Grand Brassard, a unique armband trophy that carried with it a $50 a week salary for the driver - $75 if his car used the company's magneto product. The newspaper predicted a large turnout of spectators due to the national holiday. 

IMSgasBath052910.pdf952.04 KB